In the following study, we use a corpus-based approach to undertake a qualitative and quantitative analysis of the discursive uses of verdad and its reduced variants verdá and vedá. The latter differ slightly in function and semantic content from its full variant, which functions either as the subject or as the object of the noun phrase. We show that speakers from Lópezville, Texas use verdad as a marker that increases discursive coherence, and that in this border variety verdad has developed innovative uses to codify modal meaning. As a cohesive element that brackets utterances, verdad is mainly used to assure an interlocutor’s attention; and in its role as a modal element, verdad can further show the attitude of the speaker toward the propositional load. In short, verdad can be used to reiterate that which is affirmed in discourse, where it takes on an assertive function by adding greater certainty to the propositional load. The quantitative analysis showed that verdad increases in frequency of use in hypothetical discourse and with information of a subjective nature. Finally, we traced the way in which verdad evolves from a lexical to a fundamentally discursive-modal element.
© 2015 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston